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The NFT industry is booming. Yet, hundreds of others will zero for every project that goes to millions. So how can one stand out? How to separate the good from the bad (and the ugly)?
If you want to invest in NFTs, or if you’re going to become an NFT artist yourself, read on.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, grabbed the attention of artists, entrepreneurs, crypto investors and art collectors alike. They have spotted and jumped on a trend – that of avatar NFTs. Similar to CryptoPunks and Bored Apes, those projects are some of the most popular collections out there. Individual NFTs from the CryptoPunks collection go for about $300,000. Rarer items sell for a few million.
Every week, hundreds of new projects like these launch. They are primarily about creating a collection of varying rarity that buyers use as profile pictures. It may sound simple, but that formula has made millions for hundreds of NFT artists.
However, that does not mean that there are no risks. There are hundreds upon hundreds for every project with potential that will go to zero. That’s why every NFT artist should consider these points before launching a collection.
Moreover, if you want to flip NFTs, this guide will also help you. It will tell you if the projects you want to support are doing everything they can to succeed. This information will help you separate potential from those that will probably go nowhere.
Know Your Audience
It can be hard to compete in a market where hundreds of NFT projects drop every week. That is why it is crucial to do the right kind of marketing. Luckily, there is a tried and tested marketing strategy that helps to deal with competition.
That strategy is finding the right niche – the right audience for your art. That’s where your project should start. Before you design your NFTs, you should ask, what sort of art would my audience enjoy?
Moreover, if you know who is likely to buy your NFTs, it will be easier to reach them.
However, there is a wide variety of communities on the Internet. That is why knowing your audience is critical. Rather than just spamming your NFTs everywhere, it will help you be more strategic about your promotion.
For one, NFT buyers are likely a bit more tech-savvy and younger. That is why you will probably want to target them with digital marketing. The added benefit of digital marketing is that it is cheaper and gives you more control over your messaging.
For example, your target audience on Twitter, Discord, Instagram or TikTok? What content do they consume? What influencers do they follow? Marketing is all about reaching the people who want to buy from you anyway. So answering these questions will help you uncover where they are.
A lot of people buy NFTs to make money. Significantly few people will drop tens of thousands of dollars on a profile photo just because they think it’s cool. Most will only make a significant investment when they are confident that the price will increase. And for that to happen, new buyers have to hear about the project.
That is why marketing is one of the most important jobs of an NFT artist. Effective marketing helps the project reach the people that want to buy it. Therefore, it also makes people more confident to invest in it.
While it’s impossible to go over the entire social media marketing strategy here, here are a few tips.
Firstly, in social media marketing, consistency is critical. Social media algorithms want you to post all the time. That is, as long as you are posting content that your audience wants to watch. Your audience will also appreciate consistency. Managing your content will become habitual, making them more likely to click and stick around.
Secondly, make sure your audience sees you promote your NFTs. Consistent posting, networking with other artists and influencers will show your buyers that you are working hard to promote them. Buyers will appreciate that and be more likely to buy your NFTs if they see you actively promoting them. That is because your marketing also helps protect their investment.
Thirdly, remember that people want to connect with a person and not a brand. So give your audience a way to reach you directly through social media. Tell a story about yourself, why you do what you do and showcase how your account shows in your art. Moreover, use your social media to showcase yourself, your work process – as well as your marketing skills.
Art – Yes, Art
While it may seem obvious, art quality is essential for NFT success. The images you create are the core of the NFT’s identity. Therefore, even if you plan to make utility NFTs, they need to look good. However, NFT artworks are somewhat different from the kind of art we see in galleries.
Many artists make the mistake of trying to hand-draw each art piece. While scarcity is a huge part of art value, popularity is critical. And the thing is, if you make a collection of 20-30 NFTs, they will probably not go viral.
Uniqueness is also not the most critical factor. Significantly, the super-popular avatar NFT projects use a computer program to generate the images. This lets them use a relatively small number of elements to create many “unique” art.
Most avatar NFT projects come in sets of 10,000. That means that enough people own it so that the project could go viral. What is more, if more people own it, that acts as social proof that they are valuable.
Think of NFTs more like collectibles, baseball cards or trading cards. Yes, art is essential in those as well. However, they don’t all have to be individually hand-drawn.
An Image Of Ourselves
NFT art is not necessarily about showcasing your skills. You don’t need to demonstrate your talent or use the most complex techniques. Some of the most expensive NFTs use an effortless art style. Take, for example, CryptoPunks, which use simple pixel art. Others projects like Bored Ape Yach Club even got the designation of “ugly” by many users.
However, NFTs are not about artistry or about appealing to everyone. If they look cool to the people that buy them, that’s enough. Many of the most successful NFT projects do that right. The collection has a unique style, and, most importantly, the avatars have character.
Most people in the NFT space come from crypto. They tend to consider themselves rebels, misfits and “degenerates”, – which explains the themes in the art. They like characters just like they see themselves – rebellious, flawed and not caring about how others see them.
This is especially important for social media avatar art. Think about it, and your buyers will want to use your NFTs as their social media avatars. That is free advertising for you! But to do that, they need to be proud of them – and they need to like how they look. So they also need to see a bit of themselves in the art.
That is why the art style should conform to the audience. Your audience might not be crypto investors, so think about what they like. Even more importantly, think about how they see themselves and want to present themselves.
Community – Not Just About Me
In the super-competitive NFT space, it is essential to stand out. Probably the best way to do so is to do the project about more than just yourself. Of course, you want to make money with your art. However, why should other people support you if you’re just in it for the money?
No NFT project can succeed without the support of the community behind it. Think about that community and how the project can serve them. What are some of the things they can get behind, other than just making money?
Probably the best way to do that is to ask that same question to yourself. If I didn’t care about the money, what would I want this project to achieve? If you have chosen your audience right, chances are they will have a lot in common with you.
Are your NFTs about combating censorship? Are they about charity? Or maybe they are about sending a social or political message? However, not all NFT projects have to have these overarching goals. They could also be just about having fun. Maybe they can be about creating a small, tight-knit community of like-minded people?
Consider this statement from the Degenerate Ape Academy:
Our mission here at the academy is simple: Take 10,000 of the smoothest brained apes, put them all in one location and let the mayhem ensue.
The Degenape NFT is clearly about fun and community. It’s about getting people in touch with others who “get it” – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing is that the community, not the seller, is focused.
The Launch – Beware of Whales, Bots
As said before, the community is the biggest strength of a project. Unfortunately, many projects are off to a bad already at the launch. Bots, whales and gas wars are probably the most significant issues that face new tasks.
Due to the success of NFTs, many users want to buy up as many as possible. However, that is usually not what is best for the project. Typically, a project with as many owners as possible is more likely to succeed.
Why is that? A person with just one NFT from a given collection is less likely to sell. Conversely, a person with 10, 20, or 200 probably doesn’t want to hold all of them. Since smaller owners have, the price is more likely to go up. On the other hand, if whales own a large chunk of the NFTs, there’s always a risk of dumping.
Artists should discourage whales from buying up too much of the NFTs. True, bulk offers may seem enticing. However, it is better to sell to more people at a lower price than risk a price collapse.
That is also why it’s essential to counter bots. As whales want to buy up as many NFTs as possible, they often use bots in their purchases. Bots can simulate multiple users and go around some anti-whale rules. Luckily, artists have multiple anti-bot measures at their disposal.
Gas Wars – How to Solve Them
Moreover, artists launching on Ethereum face a risk of “gas wars”. These happen when many traders try to process transactions in a small amount of time. Due to Ethereum’s high gas fees and slow processing speed can climb go to absurd amounts.
However, artists have found several creative ways to parent those. These include early rewards, stealth drops and mint passes. These are now the most popular ways to get new NFTs on Ethereum. These also give incentives to users to engage with the project early and promote it ahead of the drop.
In particular, stealth drops work like a minigame that rewards people for learning and following the project. This has the added benefit of boosting the reach of the project’s social media accounts.
On the other hand, artists launching on Solana or Polygon don’t have to worry about gas wars. That’s because the gas fees on these networks are trivial. However, that doesn’t mean that artists on these networks shouldn’t use those methods as marketing strategies. The space is very competitive, and offering users an experience could give you an edge.
Hopefully, now you are more prepared before you venture into the NFT space. Read this guide to find out how to start creating and trading NFTs.